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Petition Targeting Apple's Factory Conditions Reaches 163K+

By - Source: Change.org | B 34 comments

There's a petition asking Apple to release a worker protection strategy for new product releases.

Seemingly since the release of its 2012 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, Apple has come under fire for the working conditions in manufacturing partner Foxconn's Chinese plants. Outfits such as the New York Times, CBS News, and This American Life have offered up lengthy accounts, the former detailing a "rash of suicide attempts" at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory. Heck, we've even covered a few Foxconn topics here at Tom's, and Conan O'Brien has even given his comical spin on a solution Apple should provide.

After reading recent media reports, self-proclaimed Apple "super-user" and Washington, D.C. communications consultant Mark Shields decided to start a petition asking Apple to release a worker protection strategy for new product releases. This is typically the time period when injuries and suicides spike because of the incredible pressure to meet quotas timed to releases.

"Here's the thing: you're Apple," he wrote in the petition. "You're supposed to think different. I want to continue to use and love the products you make, because they're changing the world, and have already changed my life. But I also want to know that when I buy products from you, it's not at the cost of horrible human suffering."

That's definitely something to think about when caressing and loving a new or used iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. How many people have suffered at our expense to install apps and watch re-runs of Glee on the go? Why do unsatisfactory working conditions still continue despite the media exposure? How can Apple even sell products that may have been the result of unnecessary human suffering?

According to Shields, his petition has gathered more than 162,000 signatures in just over a week. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook is reportedly outraged over recent reports, especially the one provided by the New York Times. He promised in a letter to Apple employees that he will "dig deeper" into the allegations. BSR spoke out as well, refuting some claims made by the New York Times article.

“We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain," Cook said in the letter. "Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are."

In email to Tom's, Change.org, the site which plays host to the petition, paints a horrid picture of the working conditions, based on the New York Times accounting.

"Most people would be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from," the email said, quoting the New York Times.

To sign the petition, head here. As of this writing, the total number of signatures sits at near 164,000.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    omnimodis78 , February 3, 2012 11:21 AM
    With the retail prices Apple charges for its products, they very well could afford to actually take a very miniscule cut in their profits and actually redirect said funds to providing their workers a dignified and professional work environment. For a company that markets itself on thinking outside of the box, they don't seem to grasp the hypocrisy between their cheap words and hard facts...
  • 12 Hide
    mrmaia , February 3, 2012 11:44 AM
    SpaceExploLOL too all you. This is so much fun to see how people are totally wrong thanks to media actions.Foxconn is business partner for Apple - as well as many other companies.Foxconn is employer for its employees - Foxconn is directly responsible for their employees situation.I am not aware of any situation like: "Apple with barrel of a gun against the Foxconn head saying: hey, you, dude, kill some of your employees, ya?" So - why are you all interested in Apple actions? When it is all made by Foxconn?


    It seems like you don't have even the slightest clue of how market works. To keep things simple to you, I'll simulate a dialogue between an Apple and a Foxconn directors:

    A: You're charging me $50 for each iPad... and shipping only 50,000 of them a month! This is absurd, our margin will fall considerably like that.
    F: Sorry, that's the most we can do.
    A: So I'm afraid Apple will have to find another supplier.
    F: No, we need your money. What do you want from us?
    A: We want each iPad at $10 and 200,000 a month.
    F: WHAT? It's impossible, we don't even have workforce for that.
    A: I don't care, make it happen in a week or we're gone.
    F: How do you think we are going to implement such a radical change?
    A: Make your employees work, I don't care if they work 24 hours a day, nor for what they earn, nor for what their life quality... damn, not even for their life, they're expendable. I don't care for them, I care for our margins. Now you better start making those equipments, son.

    Got it?
  • 11 Hide
    Yuka , February 3, 2012 12:19 PM
    mrmaiaIt seems like you don't have even the slightest clue of how market works. To keep things simple to you, I'll simulate a dialogue between an Apple and a Foxconn directors:

    A: You're charging me $50 for each iPad... and shipping only 50,000 of them a month! This is absurd, our margin will fall considerably like that.
    F: Sorry, that's the most we can do.
    A: So I'm afraid Apple will have to find another supplier.
    F: No, we need your money. What do you want from us?
    A: We want each iPad at $10 and 200,000 a month.
    F: WHAT? It's impossible, we don't even have workforce for that.
    A: I don't care, make it happen in a week or we're gone.
    F: How do you think we are going to implement such a radical change?
    A: Make your employees work, I don't care if they work 24 hours a day, nor for what they earn, nor for what their life quality... damn, not even for their life, they're expendable. I don't care for them, I care for our margins. Now you better start making those equipments, son.

    Got it?


    Actually, it's not at all like that. The NYT article points that it's actually the other way around. Chinese factories are willing to sell the soul of their workers to get a contract with major players.

    In you same example, it went something like this:

    A: Ok, let's see if US factories can keep up!
    (...)
    A: No, they would have it at an enormous extra cost and many months behind schedule. Let's look for something else.
    F: Oh, hello! We are already building the extra factory you guys need and getting more workers for it! Also, don't forget it's dirt cheap your you. Here are some already finished products for you to look at.
    A: And you'll even make it on time while being cheaper? Darn... That sounds like profit! Can you make official statements about your workers being happy and all? We don't want bad press.
    F: Sure thing! The Government backs us up, so no sweat! These animals are easy to replace anyway.

    Now, that's more like it. And don't forget you can replace "Apple" with any other big tech company.

    Cheers!
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    Target3 , February 3, 2012 11:17 AM
    about time
  • 5 Hide
    Lord Captivus , February 3, 2012 11:18 AM
    We don’t have to rush to conclusions here...I’m assuming Apple Managers don’t like killing people.
    They will solve this problem.
    Many industries are facing the same issues.
    PS: I’m not an Apple Fanboy!
  • 1 Hide
    mrmaia , February 3, 2012 11:20 AM
    Quote:
    "You're supposed to think different. I want to continue to use and love the products you make, because they're changing the world, and have already changed my life.


    Apple is such a shitty company that even when you're bashing it, you have to praise it in order to have a slight chance of success.

    Were it in a different company, the owners and whoever responsible for such a situation would be already in jail.
  • 18 Hide
    omnimodis78 , February 3, 2012 11:21 AM
    With the retail prices Apple charges for its products, they very well could afford to actually take a very miniscule cut in their profits and actually redirect said funds to providing their workers a dignified and professional work environment. For a company that markets itself on thinking outside of the box, they don't seem to grasp the hypocrisy between their cheap words and hard facts...
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 11:28 AM
    LOL too all you. This is so much fun to see how people are totally wrong thanks to media actions.
    Foxconn is business partner for Apple - as well as many other companies.
    Foxconn is employer for its employees - Foxconn is directly responsible for their employees situation.
    I am not aware of any situation like: "Apple with barrel of a gun against the Foxconn head saying: hey, you, dude, kill some of your employees, ya?"
    So - why are you all interested in Apple actions? When it is all made by Foxconn?
  • 12 Hide
    mrmaia , February 3, 2012 11:44 AM
    SpaceExploLOL too all you. This is so much fun to see how people are totally wrong thanks to media actions.Foxconn is business partner for Apple - as well as many other companies.Foxconn is employer for its employees - Foxconn is directly responsible for their employees situation.I am not aware of any situation like: "Apple with barrel of a gun against the Foxconn head saying: hey, you, dude, kill some of your employees, ya?" So - why are you all interested in Apple actions? When it is all made by Foxconn?


    It seems like you don't have even the slightest clue of how market works. To keep things simple to you, I'll simulate a dialogue between an Apple and a Foxconn directors:

    A: You're charging me $50 for each iPad... and shipping only 50,000 of them a month! This is absurd, our margin will fall considerably like that.
    F: Sorry, that's the most we can do.
    A: So I'm afraid Apple will have to find another supplier.
    F: No, we need your money. What do you want from us?
    A: We want each iPad at $10 and 200,000 a month.
    F: WHAT? It's impossible, we don't even have workforce for that.
    A: I don't care, make it happen in a week or we're gone.
    F: How do you think we are going to implement such a radical change?
    A: Make your employees work, I don't care if they work 24 hours a day, nor for what they earn, nor for what their life quality... damn, not even for their life, they're expendable. I don't care for them, I care for our margins. Now you better start making those equipments, son.

    Got it?
  • 2 Hide
    digitalzom-b , February 3, 2012 11:49 AM
    omnimodis78With the retail prices Apple charges for its products, they very well could afford to actually take a very miniscule cut in their profits and actually redirect said funds to providing their workers a dignified and professional work environment. For a company that markets itself on thinking outside of the box, they don't seem to grasp the hypocrisy between their cheap words and hard facts...


    They could afford more than minuscule...
  • 11 Hide
    Yuka , February 3, 2012 12:19 PM
    mrmaiaIt seems like you don't have even the slightest clue of how market works. To keep things simple to you, I'll simulate a dialogue between an Apple and a Foxconn directors:

    A: You're charging me $50 for each iPad... and shipping only 50,000 of them a month! This is absurd, our margin will fall considerably like that.
    F: Sorry, that's the most we can do.
    A: So I'm afraid Apple will have to find another supplier.
    F: No, we need your money. What do you want from us?
    A: We want each iPad at $10 and 200,000 a month.
    F: WHAT? It's impossible, we don't even have workforce for that.
    A: I don't care, make it happen in a week or we're gone.
    F: How do you think we are going to implement such a radical change?
    A: Make your employees work, I don't care if they work 24 hours a day, nor for what they earn, nor for what their life quality... damn, not even for their life, they're expendable. I don't care for them, I care for our margins. Now you better start making those equipments, son.

    Got it?


    Actually, it's not at all like that. The NYT article points that it's actually the other way around. Chinese factories are willing to sell the soul of their workers to get a contract with major players.

    In you same example, it went something like this:

    A: Ok, let's see if US factories can keep up!
    (...)
    A: No, they would have it at an enormous extra cost and many months behind schedule. Let's look for something else.
    F: Oh, hello! We are already building the extra factory you guys need and getting more workers for it! Also, don't forget it's dirt cheap your you. Here are some already finished products for you to look at.
    A: And you'll even make it on time while being cheaper? Darn... That sounds like profit! Can you make official statements about your workers being happy and all? We don't want bad press.
    F: Sure thing! The Government backs us up, so no sweat! These animals are easy to replace anyway.

    Now, that's more like it. And don't forget you can replace "Apple" with any other big tech company.

    Cheers!
  • 4 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , February 3, 2012 1:05 PM
    mrmaiaApple is such a shitty company that even when you're bashing it, you have to praise it in order to have a slight chance of success.Were it in a different company, the owners and whoever responsible for such a situation would be already in jail.


    Then I suggest you send the CEOs and "whoever is responsible" of the other 15+ United States technology companies (that use the EXACT same Foxconn factories) to jail. This includes Microsoft, Dell, IBM, and others, Apple isn't the only one.

    People fail to realize that Apple isn't doing anything special here. They are no different than any other major technology company. What Apple can do is lead the industry by solving these labor issues. But even if they do that, people will STILL find a way to hate them.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 1:17 PM
    Why can't they move some of these jobs to the US? This kind of ecomomy gives Americans their iPads for $20 less today, but in the near future they won't have the money to buy iPads because their economy will be destroyed.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 2:08 PM
    @jacekring - The envious people don't care about facts. They only need a straw man to attack and they'll feel better about themselves. The fact that a communist government seems so attractive to them, that couldn't be the problem here, it's got to be the greedy customers of FOXCONN. We have too many people who use their hearts to think and their heads to store hats in this country....
  • -1 Hide
    noblerabbit , February 3, 2012 2:13 PM
    I just hope, that whoever buys Apple Products, and apparently it's a lot of effing people out there, that you know about the working conditions and exploitation used, to get your shiny product into your hands.
  • -2 Hide
    tmshdw , February 3, 2012 2:14 PM
    target3about time


    I don't condone "slave" conditions for workers but this same thing happened in the USA in the 1920's with clothing mills (I live in New England *GoPats!* and lots of very large bleak brick buildings from this era) and this has led to the development of the middle class in the USA.

    But we should know better now and the companies manufacturing in China should make modern worker conditions part of any manufacturing contracts. Maybe apple doesn't need to make 47% profit and should give more of a cut to the manfacturors and contractually require wages and benifits for foriegn workers.
  • 0 Hide
    boiler1990 , February 3, 2012 2:37 PM
    jacekringOk let me answer this one. Currently your iPad costs you what? $1000. That price is based on the workers assembling them earning roughly $140 per MONTH. That sounds low but it's actually over 3x the poverty line over there so it's actually for those workers REALLY good wages.Now move to america and pay even minimum wage (good luck finding 100,000 people in America willing to work for minimum) and your looking at about $60 per day + medical + other US based expenses that don't exist over there and your looking at about $100 per DAY per worker. So your seeing your prices base just for labor increase 2000%.What do you think your iPAD will cost you at the store? $5000?


    It's not entirely the cost of labor. Realize the US has NO technological manufacturing contractor-owned plants (companies like Intel have plants, but own/operate them all). We lack both the years of experience that Asian factories have, the vast number of workers (hundreds of thousands in total), and the factories that are needed to churn out products in a highly competitive market. It'll take us years to get up to speed to today's standards.

    It also doesn't help that China has most of the rare metals that are needed for manufacturing these hardware components. We'd have to import a significant amount to make manufacturing here feasible.
  • -3 Hide
    Partizan92 , February 3, 2012 3:00 PM
    Please people.. Its not just apples fault... Open your PC look at the motherboard and you'll probably find a Foxconn part.. I'm looking at an Asus board and it has Foxconn parts on it... Apple is not Foxconn's only contractor they got 3 million workers and all of them are not working for apple
  • -6 Hide
    iamtheking123 , February 3, 2012 3:32 PM
    Personally I don't give a crap that 10 Chinese people had to die so I could get my laptop. No one is forcing them at gunpoint to work in those factories.
  • 2 Hide
    trevorvdw , February 3, 2012 3:36 PM
    Apple not giving a crap about the petition hits infinity.
  • 0 Hide
    rottingsheep , February 3, 2012 3:56 PM
    i've got an impossible but fun idea.

    what if the people in america would threaten to not buy apple products now if they would not move their factories to the US?
  • 0 Hide
    boiler1990 , February 3, 2012 4:04 PM
    rottingsheepi've got an impossible but fun idea.what if the people in america would threaten to not buy apple products now if they would not move their factories to the US?


    Good luck convincing the rest of the world to follow suit.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 4:45 PM
    All that needs to be done is to simply NOT buy chinese-made Apple products. They hold $90bln in their coffers yet don't ship jobs back to America. Boycott slave-made products and put those putrescent greed-ridden companies out of business.
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